Santa Ana

10 Best Children's Museums near LA and Orange County

A museum in Los Angeles where kids are encouraged to touch all of the exhibits, climb on the furniture, and ask as many questions as they want (not in an inside voice either): Fellow parents, this is the beauty of a children's museum, and in the greater Los Angeles area, we are blessed with several of them. Now don't get me wrong—LA has plenty of local museums to excite and inspire visitors of all ages. But the 10 museums below are specifically designed to entertain and enrich the lucky kiddos of Southern California.

7 Best Zoos near Los Angeles: the LA Zoo Is Just the Beginning

Did someone say zoo? If your little ones have fallen for the non-stop furry cuteness of LA's petting zoos (and there are plenty in and around LA), there's a chance they're going to start thinking bigger. There are lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) to see at many zoos, and while petting is not recommended for most of the occupants (seriously, keep your kid out of the bear enclosure), young ones love seeing creatures live and in-person that they usually only read about in books. Here are some of the many zoos within easy driving distance. While the Los Angeles Zoo is naturally on the list, it's hardly the only game in town.

16 Parent and Me Swim Classes for Water Babies and Toddlers in LA & the OC

Kids dig water, and the younger we start them in it, the earlier they build the skills needed to swim confidently and safely. Mommy and Me – or Daddy and Me – classes are a fun and bonding introduction to a lifelong love of swimming. We know some great private swim classes for LA kids, but the group lessons below are all about getting in the pool alongside your baby or toddler. Dive into our extensive list of area Mommy or Daddy and Me classes.

59 Things To Do with Orange County Kids Before They Grow Up

Orange County may sometimes be considered second fiddle compared to Los Angeles for fun eats, kid-friendly parks, family outings, and outdoor adventures; but the OC has plenty of all of these—with the benefits of better air and less traffic (sorry, Angelenos!). If your kids are growing up the OC way, here are some key places to take them for the ultimate childhood experience behind the Orange curtain.

Got Early Risers? What To Do in LA While Everyone Else Is Sleeping In

If your life is like mine, it can sometimes feel like you're living on a farm... for many reasons—one of them being that your children wake up when the chickens rise. My kids are often revved up and ready to go at 6am or even earlier. So what should you do with all of that early morning energy? From indoor playgrounds to trampoline parks, we've got eight great ideas.

These 8 Trampoline Parks Offer LA & OC Kids Wall-to-wall Jumping

Bounce and repeat. What else do we need to say? Big kids, little kids, they all like to jump. Even Mom and Dad can occasionally enjoy trampoline time (though they might just prefer the trampoline park below that offers massage chairs on the sidelines). Bring a pack of kids for a birthday party, and they'll all sleep well afterwards; bring an antsy one on a rainy day, and watch the mood change for the better. Note that the 8 jumping gyms below can get seriously rambunctuous, but most offer special times or areas for toddlers and preschoolers. And if there's a stuntkid in your family, these are definitely addresses you need to know.

12 Family Memberships Worth Having As You Raise Your LA Kid

It can be hard to find places to go with the whole family without spending a bundle. When your kids let you know they love a place, it's a lot easier to go back there again and again (and again) if you become a member. Annual memberships allow you to enjoy all the perks and discounts a venue can offer (plus the tax write-off!). Here are a few of the most affordable and enjoyable places in LA to get memberships for the whole family. 

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Boo at the Zoo, Coast Open Streets, and Mark in the Park

It's beginning to look a lot like pumpkins, everywhere I go. And so it begins! The Harvest. The Corn Mazes. The Hatchimals  (not sure what that has to do with the season, but just go with it). We are on a crazed, giddy run to the end of the month.

But don't get spooked! Yes, there are scary things afoot. Yes, you can choose the dark and shadowy path. But you can also choose to welcome the season with laughs (and science!). You can fear the night or you can get in on the fun. Halloween is what you make it, and LA makes it easy to choose family-friendly. Or not.

Public service announcement for purists who wait to celebrate Halloween until, well, Halloween. There's still lots to do! This weekend sees festivals Greek and Korean, Manhattan Beachian and Encinoish. You can buy a ticket to the 20s, catch a plane, train, or (very small) automobileThis land is both your land and my land, and Children's Book World is 32. (Um, me too. More or less.) The streets of Santa Monica are open wide, and you can make your mark in Grand Park. So go out there and scare up some fun.

Keep reading for our favorite treats for this weekend, no trick!

Free Admission Days at 20+ Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

If you love museums, but the prices make you think twice, you'll love our list of FREE museum days. If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free. 

American Ninja Warrior Kids Learn Parkour at this Freerunning Orange County Gym

If your kid bounces off the walls even after a full day of activities, you might be raising a little ninja warrior, and a candidate for Orange County's hip and hopping gym, Firestorm Freerunning & Acrobatics. This Santa Ana gym is owned and operated by local fitness guru Justin Taylor (who appeared on the reality TV show American Ninja Warrior). It's also a premier training site for parkour, the latest fitness craze to capture the imagination of active kids.

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